Making a plaster head cast

 So Natalia and I are working on our Prosthetics negotiated personal project together, head casting and making a piece of prosthetic art for each other, and then applying it.
Natalia made a head cast of me, and I made a head cast of her.

Firstly, during my head cast being made it was the first time either of us had done a full head cast, so we learned a lot and made some mistakes. Which was fine.

 

Natalia making a cast of my head:


The front of my head alginated and being covered with a plaster bandages support jacket.

 

 

 

 

Me casting Natalia’s head:


Putting the alginate on Natalia’s face, messy stuff!

 

PREPARING THE VICTIM/MODEL

  1. Secure the hair to the head neatly (maybe having it in one lump is actually easier, as you can then clearly see where to remove excess plaster during clean up? With Natalia’s head, I evenly spread it, whereas Natalia had my hair in a lump, which was easier for her to clean up, I think).
  2. Vaseline over the hairline, eyebrows, eyelashes and down the back of the neck.
  3. Protect clothing
  4. Cover/remove piercings.
  5. Wet skin with light soapy water to prepare for alginate.

MATERIALS

  1. Clean bowls/buckets
  2. Plaster bandages  (Used about 8-9 rolls for one head cast)
  3. Alginate (About 1.5 bags)
  4. Water
  5. Gloves (if you want them)
  6. Plaster (Herculite is what we used, and quite a lot of it.)
  7. Vaseline
  8. Clamps (to clamp the mould together when pouring plaster in)
  9. Clingfilm
  10. Bin bags

STEPS

  1. Prepare the victim/model, work space and materials
  2. Make the plaster bandage mould of the back of the head, making a nice wall to butt the front up against, where they can be clamped together. Make sure that it goes down far enough, and that the edge/wall is sturdy.
  3. Prepare the face for alginate by making sure any hair is covered in vaseline, and wet the face with a light soapy water.
  4. Mix the alginate (NOT TOO WATERY! The first attempt on Natalia’s face was so watery that it didn’t work at all. Make sure it’s thick enough to not just drip off immediately).
  5. Apply the alginate from the top down, as it will want to flow down anyway. Put it over the Victim/model’s nose after they’ve taken a deep breath, then they have to blow sharply out their nose so that they have breathing nose holes. Then you can focus on getting an even layer across the rest of the face.
  6. Clean up the alginate a bit because it probably went everywhere, then get ready to plaster bandage over the front too.
  7. Make a wall that butts up against the back wall, and reinforce the plaster well so that it’s sturdy enough to get clamped together.
  8. When the plaster bandage is set, carefully remove the front part of the mould, getting the victim/model to move their face around to release the alginate. Then remove the back piece.
  9. After a bit of cleaning up of any debris inside, plug up the nose holes with clay or more plaster bandage, and clamp the two sides together. Vaseline can be used on the seal between sides to plug it up a little.
  10. Fill the mould with plaster (herculite). It might leak a bit, make sure it is in a big bucket or something.
  11. As soon as it is set enough, remove the head from the mould and start cleaning it up before the plaster is too hard!

Notes for person doing the casting:

Make sure there’s an even layer of alginate, when my head was being cast, my nose alginate ripped.

Be methodical in your application of plaster bandage to make sure it’s strong enough everywhere.

Vaseline between the plaster walls, between the plaster bandage and where you’re pouring the plaster, on the victim/model’s hair, neck, EVERYWHERE you might need it.

At least 2 people needed for this thing. Alginate needs 2 people at least, the rest can be done maybe with 1.

When protecting the clothes, if you tape all the way around it’s less likely alginate/plaster will go down your model/victim’s top and make more mess. But the tape should be vaselined if you don’t want it to stick to the alginate/plaster.

Notes for victim/model:

Pee first! Then don’t drink anything.

Make sure you know hand-signals that you will use to communicate certain things. ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘GET ME OUT OF HERE’ and ‘what time is it?’ were important ones for us.

Make sure that your chin is up and back straight, as even just after the back of your head is plaster bandaged you won’t be able to change your positioning.

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